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TAAFI News

Toronto Animation Film Festival

Toronto Animation Industry Conference

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Where: Toronto Reference Library & Online

When: November 10-12, 2022

Previous Events:

Toronto Animation / VFX Job Fair

WELCOME BACK TO REAL LIFE November 10-12th, 2022!

LIVE IN-PERSON this year at the Toronto Reference Library! PLUS some exclusive ONLINE events for our international friends. The Toronto Animation Industry Conference 2022 is 3-days of snuggling up to creators, directors and the best ANIMATION | GAMING | VFX peeps we can find!

Catch it all live, Toronto time (ET) or come back and watch the online segments for three months after.

*Mainstage Saturday will be IN-PERSON ONLY!
**Any passholder can watch online segments later.

Plan on joining us each day for a selection of epic curated treats, and stick around after to rub elbows with fellow attendees and a slew of super nice speakers.

3

days

60

speakers

1

stream of content

20

sessions

4

networking events

Thu, Nov 10th

Fri, Nov 11th

Nelvana 2022

Sat, Nov 12th

6:15PM - 7:15PM

Online: Crowdcast
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Fireside Chat with Pendleton Ward: Joke Theory

A talk on joke theory; the mechanics of lulls and lols. A deconstruction of humor pulled out of my poutine days before the talk. BE THERE!

... "The birth of a giggle, the moon-like suck and swell of timing, how to ostracize and how to firehose candy with jokes - these topics will be stabbed at from the shadows by Pendleton on Thursday..."

With Pendleton Ward Creator, Cartoon Network / Netflix

Moderator: Barnabas Wornoff Co-Founder, TAAFI

7:30PM - 8:30PM

Online: Crowdcast
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Exploring Strange World: An Animator Q&A

Join Strange World Heads of Animation Amy Smeed and Justin Sklar for a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration and animation style of Walt Disney Animation Studios' upcoming action-packed adventure film.

Strange World introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures. The film opens in theatres November 23.

With Amy Smeed Head of Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios Justin Sklar Head of Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Moderator: Karen Jackson Chair, TAAFI

8:45PM - 9:45PM

Online: Crowdcast
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We Lost Our Human - An Epic Interactive Adventure

An indoor cat and dog wake up to find that all humans have disappeared from Earth, including their own! Desperate to find their owner, these two homebound pets venture for the first time into the outside world and discover strange mysteries, meet bizarre creatures, and maybe save the universe along the way - with the audience's help! Join creators Chris Garbutt and Rikke Asbjoern for a sneak peek of this exciting interactive special coming to Netflix in 2023, along with a look behind the scenes at how they crafted a complex, branching-path narrative (Hint: It involves a lot of multi-colored sticky notes!)

With Chris Garbutt Creator / Co-Producer, Jam Filled Entertainment Rikke Asbjoern Creator / Co-Producer, Jam Filled Entertainment

Moderator: Mike Hunter Director of Creative Culture, Jam Filled Studios

10:00PM - 12:00AM

TAAFI Discord
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Opening Night Networking: Games Night!

It's opening ONLINE night of Toronto's Animation Industry Conference, and what better way to rub elbows with fellow attendees than by beating the pants off them playing games in TAAFI's own boppin' Discord Server. Join Gamesmaster Quinn and your fellow TAAFI attendees for an evening of gaming fun. We'll be running Jackbox, get ready for something Drawful, a broken-telephone of animation called Gartic Phone, or hop in for some Drink & Draw! 🍺🎨

There's no wrong choice, except not coming. That's clearly the wrong choice.

See ya after the amazing We Lost our Human Panel in the 🎲TAAFI Discord.

With Quinn Doherty Shorts Lead, TAAFI

Whether it's showrunners or creators, directors, designers, writers or effects artists we have you covered. Oh sorry did you say producers, local and international studios, workshops and parties? Yeah we got that too. Our speakers represent a diversity of stories, directions and designs that have shaped the industry and are animating to inspire our future.

speaker

Amy Smeed, Head of Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios

AMY SMEED (Head of Animation) began her professional career at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1998, working as an assistant (in the scene set-up department) on the production of “Dinosaur,” and went on to become an animator in 2004 on “Chicken Little” (2005). Since then, she has served as head of animation on the Oscar®-nominated films “Moana” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.” She also animated on such Disney Animation features as “Meet the Robinsons,” “Bolt,” “Tangled,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” the Oscar® winner “Frozen,” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

speaker

Justin Sklar, Head of Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Hired by Disney Animation as a trainee in 2011, he got his first feature film experience animating crowds for “Wreck-It Ralph.” He was promoted to an animator on “Frozen” and went on to other assignments on “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia” and “Moana.” In his role as supervising animator on “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Sklar helped to guide the character of Ralph, and played a key role in creating the “Ralphzilla” character (who was nominated for a VES Award). For “Frozen 2” he worked with the team on the characters of Kristoff and Matthias and on “Raya and the Last Dragon” he supervised the character of Namaari. He observes, “the cool thing about animation is that each movie is like a new puzzle to figure out. It’s changing all the time, and no matter what you’ve done, there’s always something new to learn.”

speaker

Andy Suriano, Director, Nickelodeon Animation

Andy Suriano is a 20+ year veteran of animation and comics, having worked on such series as Samurai Jack, Disney's Mickey Mouse shorts and most recently was an Executive Producer of the RISE of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Nickelodeon. Currently Andy co-directing the RISE movie for Netflix. 

speaker

Jessica Borutski, Supervising Director, Nickelodeon

Working in the industry since 2003, Jessica had her start in animation at Spumco working on The New Ren and Stimpy. From there she ventured to the East Coast and worked with Collideascope and Copernicus on various projects, from music videos to television series. Soon after she created her own short film entitled "I Like Pandas" This earned Jessica the "Frederator Flash Film of the Year Award". Fuel Industries, an adver-gaming agency, hired Jess in 2005. She art directed many projects there and worked with clients such as Kraft Foods, Johnson&Johnson, and McDonald's, creating beautiful immersive online gaming. The popularity of her short film earned her notice from WB. She was approached by them to re-design the Looney Tunes, and from there went on to direct the "Merrie Melodies" part of the show. She also re-imagined Bugs and the gang again for the Wabbit series, which evolved into "The New Looney Tunes Show". Jessica went on to work on many of the WB legacy properties. One DC Nation Short, featuring Shazam, entitled "WISDOM" that she produced was nominated for an Emmy. She also produced the series Bunnicula for Cartoon Network International. Today Nickelodeon is her new home and she is currently the Supervising Director on Loud House.

speaker

Pendleton Ward, Creator, Cartoon Network / Netflix

Pendleton Ward created the Emmy winning series Adventure Time and directed the psychedelic interview show Midnight Gospel for Netflix. Pen loves 3D modeling in Blender and lives in a foggy biome with his two pugs Slug & Booger.

speaker

Shaleen Sangha, Vice President - Kids and Family, Boat Rocker Studios

Shaleen Sangha has been a part of the Boat Rocker team since 2017. As a Vice President of Boat Rocker Studios, Kids and Family, Shaleen oversees the day-to-day operations of its Toronto division with a focus on creative development and production.

Shaleen has a passion for content and focuses on building meaningful heartfelt stories that resonate with today’s youth. Shaleen was Executive Producer of The Next Step, Season 7, and a CSA nominee as Supervising Producer of the The Next Step, Season 6. Shaleen has served as Creative Executive on series such as A Tale Dark and Grimm, The Strange Chores, Polly Pocket, Chip and Potato, Chuck’s Choice, Doozers, Looped and many more. Shaleen was instrumental in building online content for many of the series on her slate including the Chuck’s Choice: Choose Your Own Pet Adventure and the Addison: The Invention Detective app.

speaker

Arthur Loftis, Art Director, Titmouse

Arthur Loftis is an art director at Titmouse Los Angeles, currently working on the record-breaking Kickstarter success, The Legend of Vox Machina. As a Critical Role fan, aka “critter,” he works closely with the creative executives to forge an animated adaptation which honors the source material and introduces new viewers to the story. Leading a team of 2D and 3D artists who bring fresh ideas to the world of fantasy action-adventure cartoons, the group’s passion for Dungeons and Dragons brings them together on the weekend. Arthur’s previous credits include: Voltron: Legendary Defender, Motorcity and Son of Zorn.

speaker

Ant Ward, Executive Producer, Nickelodeon Animation

Ant Ward is an award-winning animator, writer, and producer. He has worn many hats working on several shows, including Camp Lazlo, Penguins of Madagascar, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He recently served as an Executive Producer for Nickelodeon’s Rise of the TMNT and Co-Directed the Rise movie for Netflix.

speaker

Eric Bauza, Voice Actor, Hollywood

Eric Adrian Bauza is a Canadian-American voice actor from Scarborough, Toronto who is known for being one of Mel Blanc's successors for Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. He also voiced Stimpy Cat in Ren & Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon, White Pantera in El Tigre, Foop from The Fairly OddParents, Fozzie Bear from Muppet Babies and the Beagle Boys from DuckTales.

But most importantly he voiced Splinter in RISE of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV Series

speaker

Nathaniel Larouche, VFX Supervisor, Pixomondo

The son of steampunk magicians, Nathaniel Larouche is an Emmy & Visual Effects Society nominated VFX Supervisor at Pixomondo Toronto. Nathaniel was born and raised near Montreal where he enjoyed being the weird kid, filming everything in sight, and experimenting with editing and stop motion animation. Later on in life, he found himself in Toronto, where he studied animation and realized VFX was a medium that combined everything he enjoyed.

Most recently he completed three virtual production shoots on Pixomondos LED volumes including Star Trek Discovery, Strange New Worlds and Beacon 23.

And dozens more speakers!

speaker

Sonya Carey

Head of Production, Snowball Studios

speaker

Andy Stevens

Animation Supervisor, Lighthouse Studios

speaker

Alexandra Tortosa

Surfacing Artist, Mainframe Studios

speaker

Athena Georgaklis

Head of Development, Nelvana

speaker

Andy Suriano

Director, Nickelodeon Animation

speaker

Archie Donato

VFX Supervisor, Entergalactic, DNEG Animation

speaker

Amy Smeed

Head of Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios

speaker

Arthur Loftis

Art Director, Titmouse

speaker

Ant Ward

Executive Producer, Nickelodeon Animation

speaker

Andrew Strimaitis

Studio Animation Director, Guru Studio

speaker

Ben McEvoy

Producer, Friends & Enemies

speaker

Bobby Ulcar

Senior Technical Director, Pipeline Studios

speaker

Chris Gooch

Compositing Supervisor, Entergalactic, DNEG Animation

speaker

Cory Bobiak

Creative Director, Brown Bag Films

speaker

Chris Garbutt

Creator / Co-Producer, Jam Filled Entertainment

speaker

Chrissy Metge

Digital Producer, Entergalactic, DNEG Animation

speaker

Cara Bleskie

Senior Development Manager, Nelvana

speaker

Caitlin Menard

Animation Director, Jam Filled Entertainment

speaker

Christine Thompson

Head of Animation, Dark Slope

speaker

Christina Fidler

2D Animator, BuzzFeed

speaker

Collin Tsandilis

Director, Mercury Filmworks

speaker

Courtney Guthrie

Lead Animator, Big Jump Entertainment

speaker

D'Arcy Cooney

Director of Marketing, Pipeline Studios

speaker

Drew Ng

Head of Education, Recruitment and Training, House of Cool

speaker

Darin Bristow

Executive Creative Director, Pipeline Studios

speaker

Darren Cranford

Co-Owner/Director, Keyframe Digital + Krow VFX

speaker

Daniel Whiteson

High-Energy Particle Physicist, University of California, Irvine

speaker

Eric Bauza

Voice Actor, Hollywood

speaker

Ella Cooper

Director/Producer, Brown Rabbit Studios

speaker

Genna du Plessis

Supervising Producer, Industrial Brothers

speaker

Holly Nichols

Development Manager, WildBrain

speaker

Joel MacKenzie

Artistic Mercenary

speaker

Jorge Cham

Cartoonist, PhD Comics

speaker

Josh Bowen

Managing Director/Executive Producer, Look Mom! Productions

speaker

Justin Sklar

Head of Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios

speaker

James R. Backshall

Animation Writer/Story Editor/IP Development

speaker

Jessica Borutski

Supervising Director, Nickelodeon

speaker

Jonathan Corbiere

CEO, Thought Café

speaker

Joe Cappa

Director & Animator, Ghost Dogs

speaker

Kapil Sharma

Animation Director, DNEG Animation

speaker

Katherine Sandford

Executive Story Editor, Pipeline Studios

speaker

Lorna Withrington

Vice President, Development–Animation, WildBrain

speaker

Lindsey DeMars

Animation Director, Bento Box

speaker

Mike Hunter

Director of Creative Culture, Jam Filled Studios

speaker

Mike Schnier

Social Media and Content Manager, ToonBoom

speaker

Marc Hartlen

Associate Development Executive, Nelvana

speaker

Mel Olm

Animation Director, Brown Bag Films

speaker

Matt Fernandes

Chief Creative Officer, Industrial Brothers

speaker

Nora Keely

SVP Production, Brown Bag Films

speaker

Nathaniel Larouche

VFX Supervisor, Pixomondo

speaker

Natali Topalovska

Line Producer, Brown Bag Films

speaker

Natasha Sasic

Head of Art & Design, Brown Bag Films

speaker

Patrick Paradis

Animation Director, Atomic Cartoons

speaker

Phil Moorhead

Development Manager, 9 Story Media Group

speaker

Pendleton Ward

Creator, Cartoon Network / Netflix

speaker

Paul Madden

Assistant Director, The Cuphead Shows!, Lighthouse Studios

speaker

Phil Bourassa

Lead Character Designer, Titmouse

speaker

Paolo Tamburrino

Executive Producer, Pixomondo

speaker

Rikke Asbjoern

Creator / Co-Producer, Jam Filled Entertainment

speaker

Ricardo Curtis

Owner, House of Cool

speaker

Rajan Kapila

Location Designer, Copernicus Studios

speaker

Ray Ocampo

Animation Director, Jam Filled Entertainment

speaker

Shaleen Sangha

Vice President - Kids and Family, Boat Rocker Studios

speaker

Sally Walker

Business Development Manager, Yowza! Animation

speaker

Shannon Bishop

Development Executive, Nelvana

speaker

Shane Plante

Director, Mercury Filmworks

speaker

Stephen Chien

Fine Artist, Seneca College

speaker

Tim Chapman

Production Manager, Mercury Filmworks

speaker

Tanya Green

Head of Preschool, Mainframe Studios

speaker

Trevor Deane-Freeman

Director, Daniel Spellbound, Industrial Brothers

speaker

Werner Zimmermann

Artist, Illustrator & Educator, Seneca College

speaker

Yurie Rocha

Director, Mecha Builders, Guru Studio

General Pass

Online Nov 10-11, in-person Nov 12

Super Early Bird (Oct 16)

$129

Early Bird (Oct 30)

$179

Regular

$219

Full 3 day conference pass

23 x Sessions

40 x Speakers

Networking Events

Student Pass

Online Nov 10-11, in-person Nov 12

Super Early Bird (Oct 16)

$69

Early Bird (Oct 30)

$79

Regular

$89

Full 3 day conference pass

23 x Sessions

40 x Speakers

Networking Events

General VIRTUAL Pass

Online Nov 10 & 11

Super Early Bird (Oct 16)

$48

Early Bird (Oct 30)

$58

Regular

$68

Access to all Online Events

13 x Sessions

30 x Speakers

Online Networking Events

*Includes TMNT panel on Saturday!

Student VIRTUAL Pass

Online Nov 10 & 11

Regular

$30

Access to all Online Events

13 x Sessions

30 x Speakers

Online Networking Events

*Includes TMNT panel on Saturday!

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Big ideas deserve big opportunities, come show us yours! (Sponsored by WildBrain)

TAAFI is looking for two great pitches to go head to head in front of a diverse panel of animation industry experts and yours could be one of them! Pitch competitions usually only offer critiques by industry execs. The Big Pitch will have a panel of judges representing departments throughout the animation pipeline. You’ll learn not only what makes a pitch sell but how to make it work from every angle. Submit your animated TV or web series concept by November 2, 2022 for a chance to be chosen as one of our two finalists who will pitch to a live audience from the TAAFI main stage.

Click here for more info!

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TAAFI Meet & Greet

The TAAFI Industry Meet & Greet is a special chance to have a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with various industry experts from around the world from such studios as Guru, Headspinner, Epic Story Media, CBC, Industrial Brothers and more!
Click HERE to see who our execs are this year.

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Meet the Artist Behind This Year's TAAFI Industry!

Jeanna LeClair is a graphic designer, artist, and illustrator. She has been a part of TAAFI for over eight years, translating the show themes into signs, posters, booklets, banners, badges and more! Jeanna has been the main creative lead behind the last three TAAFI Industry Conference events, going big with bright colours and graphics to bring a fresh new look each time. When not working on TAAFI, or playing endless amounts of Stardew Valley, Jeanna works as a freelance graphic designer for Ubisoft.

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